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Appleton Here We Come: 1962

Appleton Here We Come: 1962

October 1962. "Wisconsin plane trip." En route to Appleton, it's Mad Men with choreography. This would seem to have been a business trip made by Kermy and Janet's father from Baltimore. 35mm Kodachrome slide. View full size.

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1975 version

Here's a picture of the DC-3 from 1975:

Never heard of "Shorter Airlines" but the picture says it was taken in Miami.

This might be the same plane, it matches the paint scheme from the 1975 picture, but the registration number is covered by the bushes.

Sad it see it in that shape.

Dressed to Fly

We flew often during the 60s and 70s and I remember my mom making sure we all wore Sunday best - all five of us kids. In fact when packing our bags, the question was always posed to us - "What are you wearing on the plane?" It wasn't until the 80s that it was about dressing for comfort and then of course it morphed into dressing for airport security checks.

The connection between dress and self-respect as well as respect for the occasion has deteriorated quickly since the baby-boomer generation. Soon we'll all be wearing shorts and flip-flops to the office just like many do at church these days.

I flew in and out of Appleton on DC-3s

Yup---I flew from Appleton on a DC-3 to Chicago via Milwaukee when I went into the Navy in 1960. I would come home on leave to Appleton by air and through Chicago via Milwaukee--I'd arrive in a DC-3. Sometimes as few as two passengers would be on board from Milwaukee to Appleton. It was a bouncy ride from Chicago. History will show the DC-3s on North Central Air were tough birds--one collided with a small private plane between Chicago and Milwaukee---and carried the other craft all the way to safe landing in Milwaukee---the small plane imbedded in the DC-3s port bow. I am not sure the DC-3 views shown on Shorpy's are at the present airport location west of town or the one I remember on the north east side off Ballard road.

About that Dress Code

I don't think that they're dressed up just because they are flying. It appears to be a business trip, so the gentlemen are dressed just as they would if they were going to the office. This is still common practice for some companies today - if you're traveling for the company, you follow the dress code that's in place. But general office dress codes are less strict in many businesses now.

Eight Years Later

I have a North Central flight schedule dated January 1, 1970, with 22 tiny print pages of flights. They really covered the Upper Midwest.

PBA/Naples Airlines

Ice Gang's comment is cool; living in Naples back in the 60s and being at the airport with my pilot dad all the time, I'd see those PBA/Naples Airlines planes a lot. At some point prior to those days, Provincetown/Boston Airlines had absorbed the old Naples Airlines, unless I remember it wrong-- which isn't impossible!

I remember hearing that old Naples Airport was the site of the first U.S. airplane hijacking; a fellow hijacked a plane there to fly him to Cuba. Now, I'll leave it up the the brilliant folks here on to let me know if that little tidbit is correct or not.

Dressing up

I can only guess that the "dress code" for flying went away in the mid to late 60's (at least on the west coast). My first plane trip was in 1970, from Sacramento to L.A. on PSA, and I don't recall donning anything more than what I'd have worn on any given day (I was 17, so somewhat attuned to these things). But maybe I was just a slob.

DC-3 hours

Many years back I flew from Tampa to Naples Florida on PBA airline, I was the only passenger and the pilot told me this DC-3 had the most hours of any DC-3, 84,876 hours, the plane is being restored in Washington and is still flying with over 91,400 hours (10 1/2 years in the air) Canadian Pacific Airlines had a flying Canada goose as it's logo, only it was flying to the right.

All dressed up-

And somewhere to go. I wonder at what point travelers began dressing down for flights; it used to be an occasion and people dressed accordingly. I remember flying on the west coast's PSA in those days and always wearing a suit and tie, even as a teenager. We flew to from home in San Diego to Hollywood-Burbank and back for under $20 and still had money left for shopping trips to Desmond's and Silverwood's, nice Los angeles area clothing stores.

Route of the Blue Goose

"Route of the blue goose" was the tag, like "Wings of man" for Eastern, in the ads.

I think it's really a DC-3

I'm pretty sure it's not a DST. The DST's boarding door was on the right. It had auxiliary windows above the regular ones so the upper berth didn't feel too closed in, and Dave's picture of the full exterior doesn't show those.

A very old DC-3

In fact not a DC-3 as such but a DST (Douglas Sleeper Transport) the original version built long before WW II with 16 sleeping berths for night flights, convertible to 24 seats for day use. It had Wright Cyclone engines not the more familiar Pratts.

N25651 had a long career. It was impressed into the army as a C-49 and postwar served not just North Central but also Galaxy, Holiday Hunters, Shorter and finally Bahamasair. It was last reported derelict at St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

Please tell me

this plane had a lavatory.

It'll get you there -- eventually

I flew North Central in the summers in the early 70s. Convair 340s from Washington National (home) to my aunt and uncle's in Grand Rapids. As I was only about 10 at the time and traveling alone, my parents booked me on North Central as there were no plane changes. It did, however, stop at Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit and Lansing along the way.


The old Gooney Bird is still in use to this day. What a great aircraft!

[The only thing still in use is the number N25651. It's assigned to a 21-year-old hot-air balloon. Our DC-3 was deregistered in 1990. - Dave]

Oh, I really thought there were some still in use.... you mean none flying


Click to enlarge. Photos by Kermy's dad of the plane in the main photo above.

Jim Page

Great story; your dad sounds like my dad. Few words were too many.

Whiskey Central

I well recall my father's jokes and asides regarding North Central Airlines -- or Whiskey Central, as he and not a few others preferred to call it in the early days. We lived in Eau Claire, Wis., home of Presto Industries and 25 below zero temperatures. As a traveling salesman for Presto, dad would occasionally ride Whiskey Central to some distant city on business. Be it the dead of winter, he never failed to carry a hip flask filled with Early Times, which he affectionately referred to as "my infallible portable heater."

He further noted, as I recall, that the stewardesses were all males, and very likely descended from hardy Viking stock accustomed to Icelandic weather. Atop their uniforms they wore fur-lined coats adorned with turned-up mink collars.

I also vividly remember standing beside my mother on the tarmac and waving back at my father as he paused halfway up the airplane ramp. And then remaining rooted to the spot until the speck in the sky disappeared from sight.


I can remember DC-3s flying over our small-town house to the local airport when I was a kid in the early 1960s. They seemed really huge to me at the time.


The DC-3/C-47 is my favorite airplane; I built countless model variants as a kid. The North Central livery is particularly nice. More detail here.

DC-3 Stairs

My dad loved DC-3s and had one-- it might have been the C-47 version-- in the late 1960s. One day he tripped or caught his foot or something while coming down those little steps and broke his arm when he hit the tarmac.

The doctor asked him how he had injured himself, and my dad, a man of few words even when he wasn't in pain, replied he had fallen out of an airplane.

The doctor said, "Well, I don't know how high the plane was, but you got off pretty easy!"

Douglas DC-3

First operationally flown in 1935, the Douglas DC-3 became a real workhorse of commercial airlines and of the U.S. Air Force as as the C-47. Some are still being flown today, mainly by smaller third world airlines. A few of the earliest DC-3s are still flying about 75 years after they were manufactured.

North Central Airlines was founded as Wisconsin Central Airlines in 1944. The name was changed to North Central in 1952 and headquarters moved to Minneapolis. North Central flew as many as 32 DC-3s during its existence. The airline ceased operations in 1979.

A long-vanished airline

North Central Airlines is now three generations into the past. It became Republic Airlines after a merger with Southern Airways in 1979, Northwest Airlines acquired Republic in 1986, and Northwest became part of Delta Air Lines in 2008. It's possible that there may be a few pre-1979 North Central employees still working for Delta, most likely flight attendants as they often stick around for decades.

The aircraft appears to be a Convair 340, one of the last of the pre-jet airliners.

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